Mail-order shirtmaker Charles Tyrwhitt, which just one year ago implemented an ambitious strategy aimed at shifting the bulk of its £15m sales online, has discovered that e-commerce is not all it was cracked up to be.

While sales are increasing rapidly, they are coming through the more traditional mail order business. The Internet is attracting only 7,500 new customers a year - about five per cent of the business.

"We were a little bit too gung-ho," said Nick Wheeler, the company's founder. "The Internet will be an outlet for us, but it will take a lot longer for us to get there than we thought."

In line with the new emphasis on more traditional retail channels, the company has closed its Internet marketing office in San Francisco and James Stewart, Tyrwhitt's e-commerce manager who was responsible for implementing much of the web strategy, has left the company.

The firm now plans to open a shop in Bow, east London, next month and has already opened a discount store at the Bicester Village retail park in Oxfordshire. It has also opened a shop outside Paris.

Work still continues on the e-commerce side of the business however. The company's web partner, Computer Associates, the American software and services company, is still putting in development money to upgrade the Charles Tyrwhitt website and is to install 3D software, but sales continue to disappoint.

"The whole Internet thing was a revolution, but a revolution that is going to happen over 10 years rather than one or two," said Wheeler. "It's now time to catch our breath."